I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hachiro Kasuga feat. Miyako Otsuki -- Meoto Zenzai (夫婦善哉)

Hachiro Kasuga

Dug up this old 45" from the kayo vaults this past week and tried it on the stereo. On first listen, the music is proud and festive and represents what I used to hear all those years ago.

This is "Meoto Zenzai" which gave me a fair chase through the Internet as to how it would be translated. However, I tracked it down to Wikipedia's entry on a 1955 movie with the same title about "...a couple, a spoiled son and a down-to-earth girl, in Osaka in the early Showa era". The entry translates the title as Hooray for Marriage or Sweet Beans For Two. I'm not sure what the connection is between the bowl of sweet bean soup that I often have for New Year's breakfast and marriage, so I will go with the former translation. I've never seen the movie but I'm fairly certain that this initial mismatch in matrimony gets molded down into marital bliss by the end.

"Meoto Zenzai" the song, however, was recorded and released in 1965 by Hachiro Kasuga(春日八郎)with spoken vocal by Miyako Otsuki(大月みやこ), who was still a teenager at the time although she had already released four or five singles as a singer. While native Osakan Otsuki speaks her lines in her Kansai dialect about having to go through the trials and tribulations with her husband, it seems as if Kasuga as the feckless fellow is probably more attracted to the drinking establishments of Osaka, although by the end, it's possible that he is devoted to his wife. I'm hoping that the festiveness of the melody is hinting that all of what was recorded by Kasuga and Otsuki is more tongue-in-cheek than real.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not 100% on those lyrics so perhaps one of you readers with a better grasp on Japanese may be able to prove or disprove my interpretation. Those words, by the way, were written by Yasuji/Yasuharu/Yasuo Akita秋田泰治...a number of readings for that first name and he has no J-Wiki entry)while the music was composed by Toshikazu Nishiwaki(西脇稔和).

Miyako Otsuki

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